a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule.

“a range of sanctions aimed at deterring insider abuse”


penalty, punishment, deterrent; punitive action, discipline, restriction, embargo, ban, prohibition, boycott “trade sanctions”




a place of refuge or safety.

“people automatically sought a sanctuary in time of trouble”


refuge, haven, harbor, port in a storm, oasis, shelter, retreat, hideaway, hideout

“the island is our sanctuary”

safety, protection, shelter, immunity, asylum

“he was given sanctuary in the embassy”

Political reform in the form of architecture

Topic: Destigmatizing Rehabilitation

Project Statement: Progressive proactive rehabilitation center in Parkchester, adjacent to the Cross-Bronx Expressway - with an emphasis on rehabilitation.

Thesis Statement: Architecture should seek to augment rehabilitative influence and should not deny its existence. Reimagining progressive policies that foster mental health rather than personal culpability brings stigmatization into the drug policy debate. Rehabilitation should be less about healing, and more about encouragement, sociability, and destigmatization of space for a more equitable humanizing experience.

Facility Statement: There is only one assumption that I take in this project, and that is the decriminalization of drugs has finally come to the States. Thus, the building focuses on the destigmatization of spaces.

Context Statement: The Cross-Bronx Expressway socially and physically divides the north and south neighborhoods of Parkchester.

Scope: Newly proposed 50,000 square foot infrastructural building which acts as a focal point for rehabilitation. The project will provide a master plan to deck over the Cross Bronx Expressway, air exhaust and air filtration for the proposed tunnel, positive safe spaces for users, and an adaptive reuse public meditation space from the remnants of the expressway.

Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York

Thesis adviser: Lance Brown

Master plan by Lester Li, Matthew Chirico, Lenny Chen, and Talin Vakilian

conceptual rendering
parkchester site model view 1
parkchester site model view 2

Our proposed master plan with the Cross Bronx Initiative decks over the 20+ deep Expressway, allowing for local vehicular and pedestrian traffic on grade. This decision came from looking at prestigious precedents such as the Big Dig in Boston and Klyde Warren Park in Dallas. As a result, we studied: (1-2) reducing air and noise pollution, and (3) pedestrian-friendly public spaces. The goal of this thought process was to look at methods to integrate public infrastructure and architecture when proposing solutions for this neighborhood.

Currently, the strategy to mitigate toxic air exhaust in residential neighborhoods relays on redirecting pollution away from homes and apartment buildings. Such a quasi-solution is ineffective at best. Asthma rates in the Bronx are the highest among the five boroughs, and the many expressways which cut through the Bronx are not innocent of blame. The proactive solution for my project purposes filters exhausts through a large air filtration system, designed along the facade of my building. The ventilation shafts exhaust the foul air from the tunnel, but more importantly, they clean, exude, and rehabilitate air for the residential neighborhoods to breathe.

The following series of study models were inspired by a desire to fill the missing void that was stolen from the neighborhood by the Cross Bronx Expressway. The study started with the existing lot, of which solid ground permits foundation walls, and connects to the ephemeral rectangle, which can be seen from an aerial view. This metaphor transcends to complete the urban grid while maintains the existing street-level views. In other words, the form contributes to the holistic rehabilitation of Parkchester.

Social capital assumes the experiences and knowledge of like-minded individuals, or folks with similar backgrounds, is a form of wealth acquired through society. For example, social capital is obtained when one asks for directions the to nearest Italian restaurant or how to apply for food stamps. As I continue my pursuit, furthering my understanding of multidisciplinary design, I hope to continue this inquiry: which spaces promote and foster the exchange of social capital?

This thesis explores the opportunity for multi-functional rehabilitation spaces. The spaces for social gathering are along the facade, in-between the air filtration system, and noted in pink. The volumes of social spaces and air filtration spaces were designed to provide a wide range of double-height spaces, small intimate spaces, and large gathering spaces. The vertical circulation, seen in the plans, connect to all the social spaces. In addition, the large gathering spaces are connected through ambient ceiling heights and bilateral views. These spaces, along with the professional services provided in the back of the building, equip the once stigmatized and blighted user with the well-lit and large safe spaces, which are much needed for rehabilitation.